me - them


I'm going to write this today even though it happened a little while ago because I've found that when I don't put something in the diary, it stays in my brain, haunting me. For that reason I'm also going to write about something that happened ages ago, but still within the time that I began this diary - since 30th June, 2001.

I was reading a discarded newspaper on the train, the education supplement. It was about Manchester University and the pressure from the Muslim student activists to have an embargo at the University on all products from Israel. There is also some pressure to ban any group who is Zionist or has an affiliation with Israel. As most Jewish groups would fit under this category, it is effectively a ban on Jewish student groups. Naturally the 500 strong Manchester Uni Union of Jewish Students feel threatened. On the other hand, maybe the 1500 Muslim students have a point that products from the Occupied Territories in Israel should be banned... at least.
Personally, when I was a student, I never joined the Melbourne Union of Jewish Students (MUJS) because I felt that membership would make me too conspicuous. (though I often joined in for 'Bagels and Beer' nights) I wonder whether I would join if I were at Manchester now, in the face of an actual vocal threat. I say threat even though the Muslim students themselves say they are not anti-Semitic, just anti-Zionist.

This happened a while ago... We had a meeting at my studio group about getting more artists from a diverse range of backgrounds into the studios. We are pretty much an entirely white artists' group at the moment. My suggestion was that we should be more proactive in approaching non-white artists. K said that she had already approached differnt groups and no one came forward last time we had a vacancy. Then L said that maybe black artists don't have the money to afford a studio. I nearly choked at that one. Instead of entering a debate, (where do I begin???) I closed the discussion with, well we must try harder and changed topic.

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